why vegetarian ?
I choose not to eat meat, poultry, fish. That is a personal choice based on my own personal reasons. Yet, if I was going to eat meat… I would eat elk, deer, bear, antelope and moose. But , “Wait…” you say… “that is still meat. What’s the difference? Meat is still meat!”
On one hand you would be right. Yet, the differences are there… and show up in the flesh.
You have just dined,
and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed
in the graceful distance of miles,
there is complicity.
Ralph Waldo Emerson “Fate”, The Conduct of Life, 1860
“In the US we have big corporations that raise a lot of our meat… be it beef, poultry or pork. These animals are contained in lots, in pens; where space is a premium. These animals are kept together in cramped quarters; they often live in their feces, have unmedicated sores or other health problems, or live in cages that are stacked cage upon cage. They often live with a dead animal or two as well. Babies are weaned very early… either headed for an early death or a cage with others the same age. Animals are fed hormone- and antibiotic-fortified feed. How healthy is that for them… or for you?
The vast majority of meat, milk, and eggs in America comes from factory farms, which hardly resembles bucolic family farms many Americans envision their food comes from. Instead, they are part of ‘agribusiness,’ where animals are mass produced for the slaughter house. And in the agribusiness, financial profitability takes priority over treating animals humanely.”
U.S. Congressman Jim Moran (VA), 5/20/03
Then there is the trip to the slaughter house… where animals are crammed into trailers… and only the strongest survive the trip. The weak end up as bloody masses on the trailer floor. One time, I saw a double decker trailer full of horses heading to slaughter , over turn. Have you ever heard a horse scream in pain? A foal neighing in panic only to be drowned out by the rest of the horses scrambling to get to their feet? How many broken legs? It did not really matter since as long as they had 3 they could still stand til they arrived at the slaughter house. Animals are shot in the head with a bolt that is suppose to stun them. Stun them? Maybe… but it sure doesn’t stop them from feeling… horses are raised up… tied by their back leg…. throats slashed.
Captive bolt stunning – A “pistol” is set against the animal’s head and a metal rod is thrust into the brain. Shooting a struggling animal is difficult, and the rod often misses its mark.
Electric stunning – Current produces a grand mal seizure; then the throat is cut. According to industry consultant Temple Grandin, PhD, “Insufficient amperage can cause an animal to be paralyzed without losing sensibility.”
Ritual slaughter – Animals are fully conscious when their carotid arteries are cut. This is supposed to cause unconsciousness within seconds, but because of blood flow through the vertebral arteries in the back of the neck, some animals can remain conscious as they bleed for up to a minute. Additionally, Temple Grandin, PhD notes “Unfortunately, there are some plants which use cruel methods of restraint such as hanging live animals upside down.” This can cause broken bones as the heavy animal hangs by a chain attached to one leg.
Each year, large numbers of chickens, turkeys, ducks, and geese reach the scalding tanks alive and are either boiled to death or drowned. How clean is that scalding water? Are they in there long enough to truly kill the germs? *
So what is the difference between domesticated animals and wild game?
Wild game lives in a natural state of being. They are not force fed drugs. They are not living their whole lives in nasty environments, or tortured on the path to death. Hunters generally shoot them and that’s that. I know some hunters occasionally need to take a couple of shots. But, they do not drag out the killing. Unlike some of the people who upon slaughtering cows… often find the cows to be alive when their legs are being cut off. Good hunters are humane. And the telling difference? Is in the taste and smell of the meat.
The question is not,
Can they reason? nor,
Can they talk? but,
Can they suffer?
Jeremy Bentham, An Introduction to the Principles of Morals & Legislation, 1789